Orange Theory (Or: Why I Am Always Sore)

It occurred to me that I have written about all sorts of fitness attempts – some more successful than others – from Crossfit to a half marathon, but have yet to discuss Orange Theory. Why? Perhaps it is because I detailed every mile of the half marathon training and when that was done I had knee surgery. Or just the sheer madness that is Crossfit (Slinging sledgehammers? Rolling giant tires? That stuff is just not for me.) But Orange Theory is different. I actually like it.

And that is saying a lot. These are classes of up to 20 people, most of whom wear a heart rate monitor. (I opt out of the monitor. I just don’t like to be compared to other people while I work out.) The idea is that you do interval training and your heart rate is elevated for a period of time, causing you to burn calories long after you finish the class. That, I like. Plus, if you wear the monitor, you can see exactly how much ice cream you can eat how many calories you burn. Burn, baby, burn.

I typically start the class on a treadmill, while others may start on a rowing machine or in the weight room. (I like the treadmill, because it generally means less time on the rower, which I despise.) We jog, run and run faster, sometimes on inclines, and at varying speeds to screw with  elevate your heart rate. Then the moment comes where you cannot possibly run any more (for me that could be anywhere from 8-12 minutes in) and then your run a bit more. Just before death seems like a plausible alternative to spending more time running, you are done. Twenty five minutes goes by quickly when you are having fun trying to pay attention to the instructor while simultaneously dreaming of giant bowls of pasta slathered in cheese, which you will not get to eat that day.  Maybe that’s only me.

Next it is off to the weight room and rower. I like to spend as little time rowing as possible, because it sucks. But I do try. I often sing row, row, row your boat in my head while alternating shouting out how much I detest the machine. (Usually only the people next to me hear, and they always agree.) But the weight room I actually like. We do things like “Sumo Squats” which allows me to picture the other exercisers in a sumo wrestler getup, and that always makes me laugh (sometimes out loud, inappropriately). There are the usual weight lifting suspects: bicep curls, tricep curls, more lunges than I ever thought possible, squats and other fun with dumbbells, or while balancing on a Bosu ball (that’s the half rubber ball that you can balance on the flat side or the round, ball side. Either way people look awesomely entertaining doing it.)

Then there are the straps. These long, orange (of course) straps that are used in all sorts of ways: rowing (at least it is not on that dreadful machine), bicep curls, one legged squats (a really, really good time), push ups and more fun.

When I started going, I was taking one class a week, and I could see myself getting stronger. But then I realized (after a chat with one of the trainers) that I really need to go more if I am ever going to lose weight. So now I try to go as often as possible, which usually translates to 2 or 3 times a week. And before you ask, no, there is no Orange Theory in Key West. (But they franchise, so if you are interested in opening one, go for it, I will be your first client. Promise.)

It is a great workout, especially if you are not the type to just get up and run a few miles every day (like FKGuy does), and need a little prodding to actually exercise (like I do.) Have you tried it? What do you think?

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